Friday, December 31, 2010

Party Time!!

I admit, I love to go to parties! I love getting together with friends and family for good food, fun, music, games, etc.... We need no excuse to party either. Anything can be reason enough to get together!

But New Year's Eve is a great reason to get together! Friends of ours have hosted a party the last few years, adults only. And it's been a pajama party! So so fun! We all don our favorite jammies and eat great food while playing Wii, singing karaoke, dancing and playing games. Some pics from last year's party:

Some karaoke:

Just dance on Wii:

Me and some of my girls:

What are your plans for ringing in the new year????? Hope you all have a fab time!! See ya next year!!

***edited to add: I have no idea why my pics are so big. Tried to fix them but I can't!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's that time of year again!

New Year's Resolutions!!!!

I make resolutions every year, but only things that I know I can take seriously and actually give my all to. I never make goals I know I have no way of reaching. I take these goals seriously and it really bothers me if I can't fulfill one of them.

For 2010 I had a few resolutions, as I talked about the other day: More family time. Get in better shape. Read 30 books. I did pretty good with all of them and I am happy.

For 2011 I have decided to give another go at the 30 book challenge. I did only complete 28 books this past year, with #29 on my night stand, but I still consider it a success.

I plan on continuing my gym routine, and hopefully toning up even more, and have decided to make it a goal of mine to keep hubby motivated.

Writing goals for 2011: Edit, submit and hopefully sign a contract for Karma Kameleon. Do a major rewrite of Spellbound. Write another book. I also want to bump up my marketing and promotion.

So, what are your goals for 2011??

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Does time of day make a difference??

Okay, so I openly admit, I usually write posts and schedule them. It's very rare that I write a blog post and post it immediately. It is just a whole lot easier for me to write them when I have time, usually I do a few, and then schedule them. But I never know what time to schedule them for.

So I ask my fellow bloggers...what do you do?? Does the time of the post affect the number of people who read it??

Now, I am East coast, so my blogs post usually at 10 am EST. Obviously, that means they post even earlier in all the other US time zones. Do people read blogs that early?? Or do people read later in the day? If my post is too early, do you think it gets buried way down in reader's blog rolls?

I think I'm going to do a test. I'm going to try posting at different times and see if I get more or less responses!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So close...yet so far away :(

Looks like I am not going to reach one of my new year's resolutions for 2010. :(

I'd only made a few.

The first was to spend more quality time as a more games together, read more together, that kind of thing. I think we reached that one, though probably not as much as i would have liked. But one of us reads with our son every night, though we have kinda slacked with our daughter. She's seven and can read on her own, above grade level. But I would like to read with her more. She just got all five Diary of a Whimpy Kid books for Christmas.

The second was to get in better shape, lose a few pounds and tone. I am definitely on track with that goal! We joined a gym the Monday after New years this year and I lost all the pounds I wanted. But have also learned to not care about the number on the scale. It's definitely more about how I look and feel. So while I have lost the pounds, my body has changed noticeably and I know I have also gained a ton of muscle, which weighs more than fat.

Lastly was my book reading goal. I read so many bloggers who do the 100 book challenge and I knew there was no way I could possibly reach that goal. So I made a far more attainable one for me: 30 books in one year. And up `til September, I was in a great position to reach, and even surpass, it. But then life happened and there just wasn't time for reading. I got most of my reading done at night before bed...but bedtime was pushed back and I was just too tired to read. And I used to read a lot at the gym. But in September we switched gyms and I was now on a time constraint. At the old gym there was no time limit for the kid's playroom. I could get my 40 minutes of cardio in (and that's when I read) and then still be able to do another 40-45 minutes of weight training. Well, this new gym has a 70 minute limit on the kid room. So I had to cut my cardio time. Which was fine because the new gym has classes and I do Zumba 2-4 times a week, so at least I wasn't losing that. But I was losing my reading time. :(

As of right now, I am about a quarter of the way into book # 29. I am hoping to finish it this week, so at least I am only one book short of my goal.

How did everyone else do on their New Year's resolutions for 2010??? Your book goals??

Monday, December 27, 2010

Totally made my day!!

As an author who is just starting out, sometimes it's really, really, REALLY hard to know if your work is being enjoyed (and, um, purchased). My royalty statements are not showing what I hoped they would at this point...and some vendors do not report sales until months after. As of my last royalty statement, I hadn't received a dime for print sales for A Bitch Named Karma even though it had technically been for sale since August.

But then I get an email like I did today:

"I just wanted you to know I asked for your book for Christmas. Our local Barnes & Nobles was sold out & said they can not keep them in stock. They have been selling like hotcakes

Congrats on your success!"

This was from an internet friend I met in an online message board community. She's from somewhere in Ohio. So somewhere in Ohio, lots of people are buying, and hopefully enjoying, my book!!!!! This is what i live for as an author. It's not so much the money, it's this.......this feeling. Knowing that people are out there reading my book. And loving it!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest!!!!

This sounded too fun to pass up!!! Please stop by Unedited for the list of participants!!

Christmas is probably my favorite holiday. I love getting together with family, and yes, presents are a big deal to me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't like receiving them, but I really truly enjoy buying and giving them. Our budget does not allow us to buy presents for our family members often and birthdays and Christmas are really the only times of the year we buy our kids presents. I love seeing their faces light up when they open something I know they wanted badly!

As much as I love the holiday season, I'm not too into decorating. I have a few things I do- my daughter and I made some paper chains a few years ago with Christmasy-patterned scrapbook paper and I sometimes will take our framed photos off the wall and wrap them in Christmas wrapping paper, add a bow and hang them back up. And our trees are important to me (yes, we have two!). Our bow window is lined with twinkle lights, but they stay up all year. We did it one year for Christmas, and my husband liked the way it illuminated the photos sitting on the ledge, so we left them.

We don't do any decorating outside. Our old house was the last house on a dead end street- no drive by traffic, obviously. So I just never thought it was a great way to spend a few hundred dollars. We moved three years ago and I keep saying I'm going to go the day after Christmas and buy a couple of those light up outdoor trees- the cute ones, not the tacky ones. But I have yet to do it.

Here is a pic of our main tree this year:

It's a little on the small side but with our budget these days, it just seems silly to spend $40, $50, $60+ on a tree. I need to have a real tree, so sacrifices have to be made. We chose a $30 tree and that meant it was shorter, but by the time you put it in the stand and put the angel on, it was about 6 feet tall anyway. And we chose one that was not all that full...but we did that on purpose. When it comes to trees and decorating, I am naturally taken back to my floral design roots and need to create depth in the "arrangement". I like to sink the lights and ornaments deep within the tree and create depth and interest..making people want to look closer and see what's inside! :) If I had a super full tree, I wouldn't be able to do that! So for those listed reasons, this tree is the perfect tree for us!!

And tree #2:

This is my Gone With The Wind tree! I just started doing this last year. Yes, this one is a fake tree. Five years ago we went to Disney the week before Christmas. We left on the 16th and came home on the 22nd. Couldn't see paying the money for a real tree to sit and dry out while we were gone and no way was I running around on the 23rd to find a tree. Reluctantly, we bought a fake, 3 foot, prelit tree at Walmart for $12 I think. It served it's purpose and I figured we'd never use it again, or let the kids decorate it or something. But then last year I had this brilliant idea. I have been an avid collector of Hallmark Gone With The Wind ornaments ever since 1997. I have every single one accept the first from 1996 (I will get my hands on one soon!) Some years they released two ornaments. In total I have 23 including this years. Suffice it to say, they took up a lot of room on our family tree. I got the idea to use the little fake tree and make it my GWTW tree and sit it on the ledge of our bow window. I bought some decent silk magnolias and a feathery boa to pull from Scarlet's iconic burgundy party dress. Love this tree!

I have a recipe to share, but it's really nothing exciting or extravagant! We rarely host Christmas dinner and even when we have, I have kept it simple. Last year my parents and brothers came here for Christmas lunch and will do the same this year. I did stuffed shells and the whole Italian spread last year. This year I bought a spiral ham, but we'll get rolls and probably eat it as sandwiches with the chili and Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden's recipe) that I'm also making. As far as the in law's goes, my MIL and her sisters and mother have been reluctant to let go of any of the food-making reins. That means I am only allowed to bring a dessert or something like rolls or pop or some other non-exciting contribution. But one of my favorite desserts to make is below. It's usually gobbled up! And the best part, it's way tasty, but way low in fat!

Dirt Dessert (AKA Oreo Pie)

1 pkg. fat free cream cheese (8 oz.), softened
1 pkg. regular cream cheese (3 oz.), softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3-1/2 cups cold milk (I use skim)
2 pkgs. sugar-free vanilla pudding mix (1 oz. each)
1 carton reduced-fat whipped topping (12 oz.)
1 pkg. reduced-fat Oreos (18 oz.), crushed (but I do leave some bigger chunks too!)

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheeses and sugar until smooth. In another bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes 2 minute then let sit for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in cream cheese mix. Fold in whipped topping. Spread 1-1/3 cup Oreo crumbs into bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Layer half of pudding mix, then half of remaining cookie crumbs. Repeat layers. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Nutrition Facts: 1/2 cup equals 208 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 6 mg cholesterol, 364 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.


Hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season! Can't wait to read all the other posts for the blogfest!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Back to the real world!

Hello everyone! We're back from our Disney World trip!! We had a really great time...always love spending quality time with the hubby and kids. It wasn't perfect by any means- the kids still annoy each other on vacation and standing in lines and dealing with rude people wears on you. But we still loved it and can't wait to go back! Hoping to get some pics uploaded and posted here by the end of the week! :)

So now we are home and trying to get back into the swing of things. Today is day 4 of being home and only two suitcases have been emptied, but I did do all vacation laundry. We came home to between 3 and 4 feet of snow covering our entire property, less the area my dad snowblowed in our driveway so we could pull our car in when we came home. And we have been thrust into holiday festivities. Had a party last night and the night before were theater tickets for opening night of "A Christmas Story" at our local theater. Luckily we did get most of our shopping done on Black Friday and we really only have a few more gifts to pick up.

I'd really like to jump into edits of Karma Kameleon, but I know that is at least a few days away. Hubby's aunt has decided to do a scrapbook for her parents this year and each family was asked to contribute pages to it. I don't have a problem with that...I adore scrapbooking. But I do need a good chunk of time to do it. She wants an entire 2-page layout for each of our kids (the great grandchildren of the recipients), plus hubby, then an additional 2-page layout for our family. So 8 pages total...that will probably take me 3-4 hours. Yeah, I could just slap the pictures on some patterned paper in a half hour, but that's not my style.

So as much as it saddens me, edits will have to wait, at least a few days. And as we all know, this time of year is pretty busy, so who knows what will come up after that.

Hope you all are enjoying your December!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It finally happened to ME!

This is a repost from when I announced to all my blog readers that I had been offered a contract from Lyrical Press.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm on my way....finally!!!!

I think as a writer...we get used to rejection, almost immune to it...."Another one to add to cork board...." And even email rejection letters...though they can't be saved and used to wallpaper a bathroom, unless you print them anyway, tend to be the same. You check your inbox and see a publisher or agent's name as the sender with a subject of Re: Query. You know what it says before even clicking on it............I did until yesterday that is........................

I was offered a publishing contract!

A few weeks ago as the final last ditch effort for my second novel, A Bitch Named Karma, I started looking into ePublishers. I had been on the traditional merry-go-round with the novel several times. I did a major rewrite with a name change and started again. I'd gotten several partial requests, even a full request...all ending in rejection. I just could not find a home for this story that I loved so much. I started looking into publishing it for free for Amazon's Kindle. But it sounded so confusing and I just wasn't real sure what I was getting myself into. I then started looking into ePublishers. Seemed like a decent way to go so I sent out some submission packets.

Then yesterday I got a response from Lyrical Press! I sat there for a few minutes unsure if I was actually reading what I thought I was reading:

We’re happy to inform you that after reviewing your submission, we’d like to extend a contract for A Bitch Names Karma. Our editors and screeners thoroughly enjoyed this read and we’d love to add it to our catalog.

My husband was outside trying to finish up the last few things on the wooden swing set we bought for our kids. I walked out in my pajamas, regardless that my neighbor was outside playing with his kids, and told him. He climbed down from the playhouse part of the thing and hugged me. We both found tears in our eyes.

I'd done some research on the company and it seems like it's on the up and up. Folks at Absolute Write Water Cooler had good things to say too. Plus, this company has really nice covers...some of the others......tacky is the nicest word I can think of!!!

No fat advance, but I have to say, royalties are really decent for ePublishing! I was kinda surprised....comparable to what I'd make if my book was picked up by a print publisher and sold in books stores.

So, once I have my lawyer take a look at the contract and I sign it and mail it to them, I will officially be on my way to being a published author!!!

Is this real??? This is ME???? So many days I wondered if this would ever ever happen to me......

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are rules meant to be broken?

A repost from May 2009, when I was wondering what to do next!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Are rules meant to be broken??
When you're a kid, if you say a bad word, you get a spanking, or a time out. When you're a teen and break curfew, you get grounded. When you break a traffic law, and get caught, you get a ticket. If you hurt someone, you get sent to jail (when the justice system works properly, that is).

Basically I'm break a rule/law, you get punished. That is what has been engraved onto my brain since the beginning of time.

But now I'm being told to break the rules...make my own rules.....

So far during this querying process....I've played by the rules. I did my research. I scoured the Internet for agent websites. I read everything they had to say. I determined if they were a good fit for my writing or not and then when the time came, I sent them my query. And I did it to the exact specifications on their website. Some ask for just a simple one-page query letter, some want a synopsis with it, others want the first 5 pages of the manuscript, some want the first chapter or even the first 3 chapters. But the point is...I followed their directions to a tee!

But now I have met someone in the publishing world who is telling me that the way to get noticed is to break the rules.

So now I'm torn.

Do I abandon everything I've ever known, basically everything I stand for??? Do I try to do it this way??? Or do I stick with what I've done in the past??? Obviously it hasn't gotten me far.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One of the craziest days!

This is a repost from back in April of 2009. It was one of the craziest, giddiest, feel-like-a-kid days of my adult life!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This week is starting out to be really FANTASTIC!!!!!!
Yesterday was a GREAT day, regardless of the filling I had to get that I was totally NOT prepared for mentally. I thought it would be just a quick looksey by the dentist and he would say, if it was indeed a cavity, "make an appointment on your way out to have it filled..." Oh no...before I knew it, he was pumping me with Novocaine.

So earlier that day I got an email from a friend of my friend's aunt...who works in publishing. My friend had told her aunt about me and my writing and she immediately called her friend and she told her to tell me to send her an email. I sent the email with my standard query and the first 3 chapters of my manuscript. Yesterday she asked if I could print up the ENTIRE manuscript and mail it to YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Most of yesterday was spent with butterflies flipping and flopping in my belly. I think I blogged about qualifying for a radio contest. They were giving away a trip to Hollywood to see my most favorite guys- NKOTB, in concert. I had a 1 in 10 chance of winning..... they were making the announcement at 5 yesterday. Every time I thought about it, my heart beat faster and I told myself several times that I was not gonna win. a 10% chance was really not all that good....when the weatherman predicts a 10% chance of rain, does everyone cancel their picnic plans...hell no! I arrived home after my filling at 4:15 and had to wait 45 excruciating minutes. I was on Facebook, updating my status, glancing at the clock every 3 minutes, willing it to move faster! Then at 10 to 5 I got a call.....the number was a 905 area code, which I knew was Canada (where the radio station broadcasts from). I knew I had won. The dj played around with me for a few minutes and then announced what I had suspected!!!!! I screamed and jumped like a tween, and in the process scared the ever living daylights out of my son and made him cry. Poor baby...but Momma's going to Hollywood!!!!!! I am beyond excited and am dying to know the details. Where are we staying, when are we leaving????? My fear is that they will fly us out the day of the show....yikes....a 5+ hour flight, a 3 hour time change and a concert that night.....what a looooooong day. I am so hoping for at least a Friday flight...that would give us all day Saturday to sight see. Thursday would even be more fantastic.....almost 2 days to do Hollywood!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Queries- Part 2!

Hello! And welcome to Queries, Part 2! If you missed it, be sure to go back and read last week's post first!

#6: Hook them as simply and fast as possible. We're talking main character, main plot here. No need for subplots and details on the character's second cousin's wife's sister. But leave them hanging and wanting more. Do not give the whole thing away. That's what a synopsis is for.

#7: Bio is a must. But keep it to pertinent info only. No one cares what writers group you belong to. No one cares if this is your first and eightieth novel you've written. List your publishing credits including anthologies and online contests, but if there are many, choose only the most recent. And list only contests you have placed well in. Do not include blog posts or letters to the editor for your local newspaper. If you have nothing for a bio...well...maybe you should try and get something before you query. There are tons of fiction contests online, magazines, etc... My favorite listing is Duotrope. They list all kinds of magazines that publish works of all lengths, including flash fiction, which can be a great way to get a few pub creds under your belt. My first ever published work was a flash fiction contest through WOW! Women on Writing. I didn't win, but I placed top 10. My story was published on their website and it was a great start. I placed in a couple more of their contests after that. There was a fee, but it was minimal and well worth being able to type it into my bio!

#8: End it with a simple "Thank you for your time." Sad but true, you'll be lucky if they even make it that far.

#9: If you're sending snail mail queries, first of all, make sure the agent is open to them. Many agencies are going green and prefer email queries. But if you find an agent who does want a paper submission, make sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you'd like a response.

#10: Don't stalk/email them for status updates. Agents get hundreds of submissions. I read lot of agent blogs and often they will comment on how full their inboxes are and how hard it is to get to them. Their priorities, first and foremost, are with their current clients. I wouldn't expect anything less. That's how I would want to be treated if I were their client. Again, it's an issue of respecting them. If you're constantly bugging them for an answer...guess where their respect for you goes?? Some agents will list a response time frame on their websites and will ask that you contact them if you have not heard back after that time frame. Then it is okay to send a quick email.

#11: Sit back and brace yourself for the rejections. They WILL come. It is a part of this business. Most times it's nothing personal. You're just not a right fit. They may already have a client with a similar story. They may just want something different. Will they tell you this?? Most likely not. Usually it's a plain form rejection. Under no circumstance email them after the rejection. They don't have time to explain. Even a "thank you" email just clogs up their inbox.

#12: Do not requery unless A- a significant time period has passed (I say at least a year) and B- you have made significant changes to the story.

Hope these tips help!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bon Voyage!

To me!! YAY!! It is finally time for our yearly family vacation!! And we so desperately need it!!!!

My sincerest apologies for being scarce these last couple weeks and for not being here the next week and a half. I promise to be back soon with all new posts and exciting things to read!!! :)

But while I'm gone, please enjoy some of my posts from when I first started this blog! So many of you were not around those first 6 I hope you'll like to read where I was back then!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bargains Galore...Anyone else partaking in the festivities??

I am one of those crazies who get up at the ass-crack of dawn to stand in line in the cold to be one of the first customers inside Target or Walmart.

It all started the holiday season after my daughter was born. I had heard of Black Friday before, but had never gone. Being in retail, I always had to work that day. But I worked in a flower shop, so it's not like we had people camped outside our doorstep. It was a regular day for us, but I still had to work. Then I had my daughter and left my job and my sister in law asked if I wanted to go shopping with her. I said "sure". I love to shop and I love a good bargain. I was prepared, having heard of extreme cases on tv and such. Nothing like that happened to us, but it was an interesting morning. There were rude people and insane people and we just sat back and watched them and laughed. We got some of the things we needed/wanted, but didn't get too upset for the things we didn't. Most of the people were pleasant and nice and they had the same attitude we did. It was an experience and I really enjoyed it.

I've gone every year since then (this will be #8), but my shopping partners have changed. My sister in law had to work some years and this year she is off but is going with someone else. I started going with my cousin a few years ago and we have a great time. We are usually done by 8-8:30 and go have breakfast.

As much fun as we do have, the main motivation is still the bargains. With the help of websites such as, you can view the ads days, even weeks, before Thanksgiving day, when the actual paper ads come in the newspaper. Helps immensely for planning purposes! These days, our budget is extremely tight and though the holiday season is not about gifts and spending tons and tons of money, this is really the only time of year we get to buy presents for our kids and family members and we really enjoy the gift-giving.

So how about you??? You gonna be in line anywhere at 3 am this Friday??? I'll be at Target! And I'm being even crazier this year and have decided to go to Toys R Us on Thanksgiving night. They will be opening at 10 pm. There are a ton of great deals there for me this year...I just can't pass up the opportunity!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Queries- Part 1

I know how often authors struggle with the dreaded query and I am no exception. Not even in the tiniest bit. I wish I was. I wish I knew how to craft the perfect letter. But I don't.

I do know some dos and don't though. And as I wrote this, I realized how long the post was and decided to break it up into two! Be sure to stop by next Tuesday for part 2!

#1: Don't query too early. I have definitely done this. I was so green back then. I thought my first book was awesome and I felt so accomplished just having written it. I had no writer friends back then, only the opinions of my five closest girlfriends (who, of course, loved it!) I hadn't taken a grammar class in many many years. Looking back now, I can see how horrid that story was. But I didn't know it at the time. I sent the query out and luckily one agent gave me some honest feedback, telling me I was not ready to query at all. I was a little taken back at the time, but so grateful later on when I realized she was so so right. Don't query until you've gotten lots of honest critique on the book...not just friends who've adored it. Join a writer's group, online or in real life, put in your time by critiquing other's work and learning from it. Be very well read in your genre so you're aware of the cliches and can avoid them. You have to know what's already been done. I truly feel no story is completely original, but you need to make sure your book has a different take.

#2: When you're finally ready, do your research. Visit every agent's blog. Never rely on info on Publisher's Marketplace, Agent Query, or any other place ACCEPT the actual agent's website. The info can be outdated or just plain wrong. And check their background too. My favorite site is Predators and Editors. They're all listed alphabetically. Just because an agent looks professional online does not mean a thing. There are plenty of bad agents out there.

#3: Follow their guidelines to the tee! There's nothing more aggravating than having instructions written out in plain English and receiving everything else under the sun. Why turn them off before they've even read your blurb?

#4: Don't be gimicky. Just tell them what your story is about. Hook them. Don't try to be funny or witty or play games. Show your voice, yes, but don't be weird.

#5: Be professional. It's a business letter and should be treated as such. These agents are not your friend or even an acquaintance. A simple "Dear Ms. Smith" is appropriate. They are professionals and deserve respect. Get their name correct, get their gender correct.

Okay, that's it for now! Stop back next week for the rest!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spiraling into the abyss.....

Not me...but a friend. And I just don't know what to do.

One of my dear friends is starting to spin out of control. And I just don't know what to do. Obviously she can't see it....very much in denial. At what point do you risk the person hating you by stepping in and intervening?? I worry about what might happen if no one steps in and insists she gets the help she desperately needs. But I think we all know a person can't get help for something if they are in denial about the problem.

And of course my wandering mind sometimes goes very dark..and if something really bad would I feel if I'd sat here and done nothing? I could have done something to stop change it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The stuff that lasts....

The other day I pulled out my iron and realized it is the same iron I've been using for years. It was a gift from my bridal shower, over twelve years ago. It still works perfectly fine. Then I thought about all the things I still have that I got as a bridal shower present: hand mixer, dishes, glasses, veggie steamer, bakeware, bath towels, coffee maker.

I guess I wish I had newer models of some of these items. My hand mixer is kinda plain and simple and I wish I had a fancier one. Towels are getting kinda faded. Getting a bit bored of our dish pattern.

But some of the things are just perfect. We're not coffee drinkers so the plain Jane simple coffee pot we have that only gets pulled out a handful of times a year suits us fine. We've broken about half of our glassware, but how many glasses do we really need. I wash the ones we use almost every day.

The other day we were at Kohl's and walked past the fancy luggage. We travel at least once a year and those Samsonite suitcases look so nice and so much better than what we use. We have two set of luggage. The first was a shower gift and after many many trips with it, they are pretty banged up. The second set was a cheapy set and while they aren't in as bad a shape as our original set, it is just not a high quality. We usually use both large suitcases and the newer medium and small sizes. But am I willing to spend a ton of cash on new luggage with the way the airlines handle them???

When do you decide to replace something?? Whether it be an appliance or linens or books?

Obviously it's easy to know when to replace something that has broken and is either unfixable or the cost to fix just isn't worth it. But other things...they may not be broken..but maybe you're just bored with it. Or maybe it's just not performing as well as you'd like.

When it comes to books, and specifically genre, I have a couple genres I love and that is mainly what I stick with-- Women's Fiction/Chick Lit/Contemporary Romance. It's what I write, it's just what I enjoy reading. Will I ever stop reading and writing my genre and replace it with something else?? I can't say for sure. But I do know how much I love it right now. I do from time to time read something different, but I always go back.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My new cover art!!!!

I am so so excited to reveal the cover art for Paradise Cove!! The email came in on Sunday, which is rare. I get very few emails over the weekend. I saw the subject and instantly got butterflies in my stomach. This is such a huge thing!! I was so so excited!!! But I was very nervous too! What if I didn't like it??

But when I clicked the attachment and this amazing cover opened, I was in awe!! I remember the day I first saw my cover for A Bitch Named Karma. While it was beyond striking, I was afraid it really didn't fit the novel's genre completely. And while I thought it was quite sexy, I've caught a ton of flack for the cover model's lack of clothing.

But this new cover....there is no doubts about this one at all. It's's's everything I wanted!!

And without further ado....the cover for Paradise Cove:

So, what do you guys think??? Hope you love it as much as I do!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Tip: I, I, I....

My first published full length novel, A Bitch Named Karma, is written in first person. I really like that POV...really allows me to get into the characters head and hopefully make the reader feel like they are there too.

One major mistake I made while writing it was falling into the "I Trap". Take a look at this paragraph:

I opened my eyes when the alarm began blaring in my ear. I turned it off and sighed. I did not want to get up. I was not ready to face this day. I'd already done all I could do to fix things, but I had a feeling it wasn't going to make any kind of a difference. I just had to get dressed and go on like nothing had happened.

See what happened there?? Every sentence starts with "I". It is very important to vary your sentence structure. You can even turn some of those sentences into internal dialogue, deepening the POV. I know how hard it can be, especially with a piece written in first person, but once you start fixing it, it gets to be second nature.

Look at this new paragraph:

The alarm began blaring in my ear. Six AM already? I turned it off, but stayed in bed, not ready to face the day. Yesterday had been hell and I'd done what I could to fix things. But it probably wasn't going to make any kind of a difference. I just had to get dressed and go on like nothing had happened.

The second paragraph only has two sentences starting with "I". It's not perfect, but it's definitely better. :)

Good luck!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Going back and editing blog posts???

I read a blog past the other day about a blogger who was going back and editing her old posts. Made me wonder if everyone does this. It never crossed my mind to do it.

There have been many times where after something posts, I notice a glaring typo and I just have to fix it. But would I go back months, even years, so fix old typos?? I don't think I would. Yes, I want it to be professional, yet still down to earth. And I am constantly learning and the grammar comes more naturally now than it did when I started this blog...but those are my words and I don't think I would change them now.

I admit that I am a bad typer...I've never taken a typing class. I need to look at the keys when I type. And I still make A TON of errors. I keep a journal on my laptop and many times I type so fast that I misspell words, letters are out of order....I miss the space between words. I do go back and fix most of the typos...I want future generations to be able to read my words! But I never edit for content or proper grammar. They're my words and if I use tons of slang, so be it. If I use bad grammar, oh well. It's my journal.

So what do you you go back, months, years, and edit your blog posts??

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm freezing!!!!! And my brain can't function!

It's Buffalo, so yeah....being cold is the norm this time of year. But it's supposed to be like 62 today!! Major heat wave, people!! The weather woman on the radio said it's our Indian Summer....go's usually never in November!

And here I sit freezing! I have my electric blanket around me. I have plans for taking a walk later to soak up some sunshine and warmth before it's gone for the winter.

But the temp is not the reason for my poorly functioning brain. I have vacation on the brain and I just cannot shake it!!!

We leave for our yearly family vaca to Disney World in 17 days. In order to afford it this year we've had to cut out a lot and the entire summer was spent doing very little. We are so eager for some fun and family time....away from our home. Disney gives us the perfect escape. And now that it's finally almost here, I can't get my brain to stop thinking about it. I can't keep away from Disney sites or message boards. I keep reviewing our plans and adding to our packing list.

But there are other things I really should be doing. I need to finish this round of copy edits for Paradise Cove. I completely ignored them yesterday. I do plan on tackling them some more today...almost done. I need to do pre-edits on Soap Dreams, which I have started but still needs work. And let's not forget Karma Kameleon.....I so wanted to have it polished and submitted to my editor before we left for our trip. :( Looks like that's not gonna happen.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend....maybe some nice sunny warm days for you too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How are you doing on your goals for 2010??

Well, it's November and there's what, 7 weeks or so left in the year??? This year seems to have flown by...anyone else feel that way???

I try to make resolutions each year and I take them very seriously. It seems people always make them and break them. But I try really hard. I don't make a goal unless I have every intention of keeping it.

For this year I had a few goals and I'm proud of what I've achieved.

#1- Join the gym and lose some weight/tone up.
We joined the gym that first Monday after New Year's. I lost the weight I wanted and also built a lot of muscle. I'm not exactly where I want to be yet, but in the past 10 months, I've definitely made a lot of progress.

#2- Read more.
I got my Sony Reader for Christmas last year and made a goal to read 30 books this year. I know tons of bloggers who do the 100 book challenge and I know I can't do that in this stage of my life. 30 seemed like a much more attainable goal for me. I am at 28 right now. And I just downloaded three new books!

#3- Find a home for my novelettes.
Done! Signed contracts for them with Lyrical Press a few months back!

#4- Find a home for Spellbound.
This is one goal I have not achieved this year. While I did A LOT to strengthen the story by switching the POV from 1st to 3rd in the beginning of this year, it still has a lot of problems. I hope to address them in the near future.

#5- Secure an agent.
Well, this goes hand in hand with #4, since Spellbound is my only completed MS right now that isn't already contracted. I pitched face to face to an agent back in March and it went well, but as mentioned above, Spellbound just has some problems that need fixing.

So...where are you in your goals for 2010?? Have you reached them, or still trying?? There's still time!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Super Sexy Blog Event!!!

Ever wonder what you would do if you were suddenly transported inside a romance novel??? I have to admit, while I'm writing, I imagine myself in every scene. What would I do? How would it feel?

I'm guest blogging today on this very topic!!! Pop on over to Gina Gordon's blog! VERY fun and VERY sexy stuff going on over there!!!!! You won't be disappointed!! ;)

And keep checking back! Fun posts every day this month!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tuesday Tips a day early! Dialogue Tags

Tuesday Tips is a day early this week! Something really fun going on tomorrow!!!

Before I continue, I first of all need to thank my AMAZING editor at Lyrical Press, Piper Denna! Please check her out here! Without her, I would not be where I am. She took my MS and helped me turn it into something fantastic. I learned so much from the experience!

Okay..on with today's post!

When I first started writing, I thought every line of dialogue had to have the word "said" with a name or he/she/I. I started getting creative and used my thesaurus for different words that also meant "said". I thought I was being cool by mixing it up. And the adverbs. Oh my.

And then I realized that not every line has to have a tag (I finally found out what they were actually called).

And as I learned to show instead of tell by adding actions, those lines didn't need tags either.

The Old Way: "I love this dress!" Sally said as she twirled in front of the mirror.

The New Way: Sally twirled in front of the mirror. "I love this dress!"

When there are just two people in a conversation, the reader can usually figure out who is talking. But be careful, so it's not confusing to the reader. Make sure you add in actions what's going on while they are conversing. There's nothing worse for a reader to be in the middle of a conversation and having to stop and go back because they can't keep track of who's saying what.

Hope this helps. Remember, I in no way imply I am an expert here and my apologies if something I said is clearly wrong!! LOL! I'm still learning myself!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

I was featured!!!

This week I was featured at EH on Books n' More. Please check it out!!!

And don't forget..I'm still searching for pics of my readers with my book!! Email them to stephanie_haefner at yahoo dot com! Thanks!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why should we hide our feelings online??

I read a blog post the other day written by Shannon Whitney Messenger and it really made me think. Shannon wrote a really thought provoking post and she made some great points. But why is it so bad to share our true feelings in our blogs???

Yes, it is good to show you are confident and put together and professional...but why shouldn't our readers know the real us, insecurities and all??? Does it make us appear weak if people know we don't have it all figured out all the time???

Do you shy away from a blogger, author or not, if they post about their fears?

I don't!! I read their words and say "THANK GOD!!!! Someone out there gets it! Gets ME!" I wrote a post a little while back about jealousy in the publishing world. (read it here) I was having a bad day and wondering if I'll ever get to where I want to go. It felt so nice to read other writers comments and that they too know how that feels and have been there.

Everyone is in different stages of this journey and each has it's own set of fears. But in the's all the same insecurity.

If someone was constantly whining and venting and complaining, then yeah, that would get a little tiresome, but an occasional vent or sobfest...I don't see anything wrong with that. I welcome it actually. It's nice to see that everyone out there is human...just like me. :)

So what do you think?? Are posts that show the writer as weak a bad thing??

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

October Writing Stats

I posted on Monday that I have finished Karma Kameleon, the sequel to A Bitch Named Karma.

Last month I posted my stats for July, when I was in ultra writing mode. Once again this October, I was back in writing mode and decided to post my stats again!! I like figuring it all out, and hopefully, you all enjoy reading it too!!

Number of days my 1000 word goal was met: 17 (July was 18)
Number of days it was not: 5 (same as July)
Number of days I didn't write at all: 9 (but 4 of those days my laptop was out of commission) (July was 8)
Number of days I wrote at least 1500 words: 9 (same as July)
Number of days I wrote over 2000 words: 2 (July was 4)

Total word count for October: 29,251 (July was 30,590)

I strive for 1000 a day. I like to meet that goal every day, but I don't stress about it, considering I have many days where I exceed that goal. In the end it usually averages itself out. Obviously, I was a little under for October....but I finished the story, so that's all that matters!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My first ever Tuesday Tips!!!

Not sure if I like the name...I may work on that :)

But anyway, I have decided to share my world of knowledge about publishing and writing. Okay, I don't so much have a "world" of knowledge..maybe just a bucketful...a small one... But I am going to share in hopes of helping my readers learn from my mistakes.

For my first week I decided to focus on something I did many many times in my first novel..and this was after I'd been through it a zillion times on my own. My editor had to correct it so many times...I though for sure she'd change her mind and give me the heave-ho.

Using words like thought, felt, saw, etc....

My debut, A Bitch Named Karma, is in first person, but I catch myself doing this with third person works too. Not sure why I did it. I guess I thought I needed to be as descriptive as possible. But the reader is in the MC's head...they don't need those extra words.

Example #1:

Wrong: She felt his hand touch her face.

Right: He touched her face.

Example #2:

Wrong: "That guy is hot," I thought to myself.

Right: That guy is hot.

Example #3

Wrong: I saw him take the cookie from the jar.

Right: He took the cookie from the jar.

These are very simplistic examples, but I think you can see what I mean. Nixing those extra words makes the sentences so much clearer, stronger, cleaner.

Thanks for stopping by my first ever tip post!!

If you have any ideas for future posts, please share!!! Or if you have questions about the digital publishing industry, please ask! I'd be more than happy to tackle a question in this weekly feature and share my experience.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Even after 4 days without my beloved, my book is finished!!!


What a crazy week this has been. On Wednesday, I could barely get my computer to turn on, let alone do anything. Hate when that happens. And it never ceases to amaze me how lost I feel without it. I have our older PC in the basement that has virtually nothing on it and mainly hubby and daughter use it for internet stuff. So luckily I could check email and such. But I could not write. Everything is on my laptop.

And that meant ending Karma Kameleon, the sequel to A Bitch Named Karma, was put on hold. And that made me mad. I had a goal of finishing by the end of October. It was just a personal goal, but for me, that is just as important as a deadline from an editor. So we took her to the computer doctor and I wrote the very last chapter in a notebook. So technically it was finished...but for me...if it's not in the computer, it doesn't count.

My laptop was fixed and good as new...picked it up yesterday morning. But with Halloween festivities, I could not get on it until after 10 at night to actually transfer my scribbles into the computer. Yay!!!!! It feels so great to have it finished!!

So now we start the self editing process. But I've already been through the first half once. And my writing is getting cleaner and stronger with each book. There shouldn't be as much to fix. My new goal is to have it cleaned and ready to submit by the end of the month!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New feature??? What do you think??

It seems that many bloggers offer all kinds of writing advice and tips. And many of their readers adore them and really appreciate it. I have shied away from giving advice because, well, I don't feel I am in any position to give advice. I am still a newbie in this biz. What could I possibly say that can help???

Well, I have learned a lot so far. And why not share what I've learned?? Maybe I can help others and they can avoid my mistakes???

What do you think???

I thought of making this a weekly feature, until I run out of things to share. Maybe on Tuesdays.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Never-Ending Scene Blogfest!!!

This blogfest is so so cool!!! Please stop by Brenda Drake Writes to check out the list if participants!! This should be a really great blogfest!!

And here is my entry! It's a scene from A Bitch Named Karma. This is when Lexi's life starts falling apart! Enjoy!!

Later that morning, the elevator door opened to the offices of Smith and Roland and people sprinting around, every one with armloads of papers and boxes. The place normally resembled the theater a few blocks down that only showed nature documentaries; quiet and boring with most of the audience half asleep. Something was definitely up. I walked into Val’s office, looking like a battle had just taken place. I stepped around cardboard boxes as Val popped up from behind her desk.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Oh, Lexi. Everything is a mess! I don’t even know how to tell you this. You better sit down.” Her gravity defying hair looked a bit more frizzed out than normal. As Val explained to me her demotion and the changes that were effective immediately, I wanted to scream and cry and throw myself on the ground in a toddler-esque tantrum yelling, “No! No! No!”.

Val also explained the tiny royalty check I received a few weeks back. It wasn’t a mistake. My book sales dropped considerably and she would no longer be my editor. They replaced her with an outsider, a miracle-worker of an editor they lured away from another publishing house. Mr. Smith and Mr. Roland needed to make some major changes for the good of the company and hoped the big bucks they threw at this new woman would save it.

“She’s here already,” Val said, stifling her tears. “You are meeting with her today in her temporary office. As soon as I’m cleared out, she’ll be moving in here.”

I didn’t know what to do. My relationship with Val far surpassed the editor/author marriage. We were also friends. She established my career and walked me through my first publishing experience. She gave me my first big break and I owed so much to her. What would I do without her?

As she reached to pull one of her photos off the wall, she broke down crying. I did the only thing I could think of.

“These assholes can’t fuck you over like this! This is unacceptable! If they don’t give you your job back, I’ll walk!”

“Lexi, no. They mean business. For the sake of your career, you need to stay put.”

Our eyes met and I knew she was serious. I trusted Val on every aspect of my career in the past, no questions asked. I had no reason to doubt her advice now.

“Fine. I’ll meet with her. But if I don’t like her, she can go to hell. They all can.”

I walked down the hall confident as my Manolo Blahnik’s click-clacked on the marble, ready to raise some hell. A hand-written sign had been plastered to the door: Sheila Brown- Editor. The scent of a black Sharpie wafted into my nostrils as I pounded on the door.

And if you're interested in reading can purchase A Bitch Named Karma as an ebook at Lyrical Press's website or at Amazon for the Kindle or in print!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why am I sitting here? I have things to do!

Yeah...I have tons to do right now. Tonight is my turn to host the monthly Girls Night in with my close group of friends. (Can you say martinis and comfort food???) I have to clean the bathroom, do up some dishes, get the dining room ready....and a pan of homemade mac n cheese isn't going to magically appear in my oven. Ohh and what's that son needs a diaper change too.

But where am I??? Right here, at my computer. I've just spent the last two hours reading blogs, commenting on blogs, Twittering, Facebooking, Goodreads, etc.... I think I'm a little obsessed, but not obsessed with social networking, per say. I'm obsessed with getting myself out there and connecting with people. I'm obsessed with getting people to want to read my book.

I need to do this. I need to be successful. I need to make something of this dream.

There's so much I want and I want it now! I so feel like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I see other people have it and I want it too. Sometimes I really want to stamp my feet and be bratty. Sometimes I wish my daddy would ask "Okay, how much?" and buy me my dream come true.

No, that's not true. I've always been a girl who needs to earn what I have. And yeah...nothing worth having comes easy. I know that.

Sometimes I just wish it wasn't so damn hard. It would be so much easier if my dream was to be a doctor. You go to school and as long as you apply yourself and work hard, you dream will someday come true.

With my dream there is no guarantee...ever.

Okay, the stink is getting to me and I really need to go clean!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Hunksday: Special Edition!

This week I decided to pay tribute to all those hunky guys that decorated my walls as a preteen and teen! All those pages I ripped from Teen Beat and Bop magazine. All those dreamy heartthrobs that made me melt!!

Here they are....did you share any of my teenage fantasies????

The first is a band that, at one time, decorated every square inch of my bedroom walls. And in all honesty, they are even hotter as grown men and if my husband would allow, I'd probably plaster my bedrooms walls with them now!!

New Kids on the Block

At one time, this heartthrob had a sacred place, right above my bed!!!

Kirk Cameron

Totally loved this guy..."Whoa" is all I can say!! I listened to his album on tape so many times that it snapped. He's still pretty damn hot now, though I'm not diggin' the shaved head thing.

Joey Lawrence

I think every teen girl in the late 80's had a crush on this guy. I had a huge B&W poster of him. and miss you always!

Patrick Swayze

My favorite of the Coreys...I could watch License to Drive all day long!

Corey Haim

I fell so in love with him in Ladybugs!

Johnathan Brandis

And who could forget Zak Morris??? Definitely not me..I still watch Saved By the Bell reruns!

Mark Paul Gosselaar

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Twitter and Facebook- I need you all!!!

I've decided to host a giveaway! Two, actually!!!! I am not happy about the number of Twitter and Facebook fanpage followers I have. I need to do something about it!!!!

So...I've decided to give away a couple signed copies of A Bitch Named Karma! When each of my accounts reaches 200 followers, I will randomly draw one follower who will win the book!! And if for some chance the winner already has the book, instead they will receive signed copies of both Chicken Soup for the Soul books I am featured in!!

Here is my Facebook Fanpage link.

And here is my Twitter page.

Thanks in advance for all your help!!!!

And while you're at it, please check out this great contest at Project 52! She's giving away The Hunger Games trilogy!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jealousy in the publishing world?

I don't care who you are, there has to be a time in your life that you have been jealous of someone or something. There are many levels of jealousy, in my opinion, and it isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I see skinny women with well-toned behinds and I am jealous. But that jealousy just encourages me to work extra hard to get it too.

I've seen jealousy be a very bad thing though...

But what about the publishing world? I have to admit, I am feeling very jealous right now. I think we all see our fellow bloggers struggling and trying to make it out there in queryland. There's a real sense of comradery. But what about when one of those comrades makes that big leap ahead of you? And tons of success is seemingly thrust at them. It really changes everything. You don't feel like you're on the same planet anymore, let alone the same level, like you were moments earlier.

Of course I am happy for my bloggy friend....but that green-eyed monster has also grabbed onto me. Not sure how to shake it off.

I try to take that emotion and turn it into ambition and strength....use it as inspiration to keep on writing, keep on learning, keep on growing.

But some is damn hard. Some days it feels like it will never be my turn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I *Heart* Reviews!

I am always SOOOOOOO appreciative when someone reads my book and posts a raving review online!!! It totally makes my day!!!

Thank You Lisa @ Raven and the Writing Desk!

Please check it out and give them some bloggy love!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

First Page Blogfest!!!

Elle Strauss is hosting this fun blog today!!! Please check it out here!!

And here is my entry!! This is the opening page (well, first 250 words) to Spellbound!!

"Yes, Mrs. Vandewater, your daughter’s wedding bouquet will be delivered to your house by noon along with all of the attendants’ flowers,” Roda Morgan answered for the third time as she doodled on a yellow legal pad, taking the name Vandewater and added horns to the V and a pointed tail to the R.

As the owner of a service oriented business, “The customer is always right” became a motto she had no choice but to live by, regardless of how insane it sometimes made her. Numerous times she would have loved to chuck that motto right out the window, watching it splatter on the street like a water balloon tossed from ten stories up. What joy she’d have telling the customer exactly what she thought of them and where they could take their “one last question”. But in the end, her desire to please everyone won out.

“No, I will not get lost on the way to your house. I have the directions you gave me, plus printed directions off the Internet. I also have your home phone number, your cell phone number and your maid’s cell phone number programmed into my phone just in case.”

The door chime sounded and Roda looked up to find a wide eyed twenty-something. She had that dreamy look in her eyes and began browsing around the shop, stopping to caress a fluffy guestbook pen and smiled.

More screeching came from the receiver of the phone and Roda turned her attention back to this year’s Momzilla,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Editing and Writing at the same time??? I am in the middle of my first round of copy edits for Paradise Cove, YIPPEE!! But I've been spending so much time on Karma Kameleon...trying to get the first draft done by the end of October.

Normally, I do not mix editing and writing. I do one or the other. When edits come in...I usually put aside whatever I'm working on to devote all my time to that. But for the first time, I don't want to do that. I really had my heart set on meeting this goal by the end of October. And I am in a really good position to accomplish it! That means still keeping with my daily work count goal. Paradise Cove is a shortie...only 16,000 words, so it's not like editing an entire full-length novel. And I could put Karma Kameleon aside for a few days to work solely on edits...but I'm just too afraid that I'll get behind and not able to come back.

Yesterday went well. I actually got a decent amount of the editing done. Earlier that day, while out to lunch with my son, he started the next scene on Karma Kameleon. I wrote in my little purse notebook while he slowly ate his food. (I don't know about your kids, but mine can sometimes take for-ev-er to eat.) So I typed that into my computer...just over 600 words. Not bad. I was going to leave it at that. Editing and getting 600 words down wasn't too bad. But I just couldn't leave it. I got back on the computer after the kids were in bed, did more editing, and also squeaked out a few hundred more words. I made my word count goal, barely, but I did it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Hunksday!!

Today's piece of man candy is my first foreign hottie! (Well, I had a Canadian or two, but I'm so close to Canada that it doesn't really feel like a different country to me!) I first saw this guy in a movie called Something New and then in a really fab movie, The Devil Wears Prada. He spoke perfect American English in when I saw him in an interview, my mouth dropped open. Damn that Australian accent is so sexy!! Wikipedia tells me he is now an American Citizen...let's just hope he keeps his Aussie accent!'s super hottie is Simon Baker! ENJOY!! I know I will ;)

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Mom, if you haven't noticed...."

"...I am a 33-year old grown woman."

That's what I had to say to my mom yesterday. She'd just finished reading A Bitch Named Karma. She said she loved it, it was a really good story....."but".

Don't ya just love a "but"????? She said she had a hard time with the sex scenes.

Now I know for a fact that my mom reads all kinds of romance...and the scenes in my book are very glazed over. Yes, there's some colorful MC Lexi is pretty sassy and says exactly what she's thinking. It's first person, so of course the sex scenes are described using her language.

"But you're my daughter...and you wrote that..."

I get that...but I think she needs to separate herself and just read the book like any other book. Maybe that's easier said than done....

I guess it kinda hurt me a little. I think we sometimes expect glorious praise from certain people and when it's not given, it's a little heart-breaking.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog posts: Write every day or schedule them?

I admit, when I first started this blog a year and a half was just something I thought I needed to do to "build my platform". But I got into it and started meeting some A-MAZ-ING people! And I found that I really enjoyed sharing my experiences and reading other people's. I found a real kinship with my readers.

But, life happens and I don't always have time to sit here and write out a great post every day. And I don't get to read every blog I follow every day either.

What I do do is this....when I get the time (like's actually Tuesday that I'm writing this.) I sit here and write out several blogs...about different topics. Something that strikes my fancy, or something that's happened to me recently, or a random idea that I wrote down to use "someday". I schedule them for different days and can sit back and relax in knowing that I am still out there...I'm still connecting with my readers and friends.

And even if I'm having a crazy day, I still check my email and my blog and reply back to comments.

So what do you all do out there??? Do you actually blog everyday and post it that same day???? Or are there more people out there like me who kinda cheat a little???

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Hunksday!!

I have been a fan of Dancing with the Stars since season 1! As a dancer myself, I love that part of the show most of all, but when my favorite pro comes out with his shirt wide open or no shirt at all...OMG!!!! I don't care much about the dance anymore! Is it bad that one of my goals for my writing career is to become famous enough to be considered as a celebrity dancer???

And my first choice for my pro partner........none other than Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I want pictures of you with my book!!

I read Jody Hedlund's blog and thought she had such an awesome idea for her first release, The Preacher's Bride. She asked her readers to take a picture of themselves with her book and she displays them on her website! I think that is just so much fun!!!!

So anyone wanna pose with their copy of A Bitch Named Karma??? I know many of you have it as an eBook, but that's cool too! I bet you can set your Reader to the cover and take a pic with it!

Please send pics to stephanie_haefner (at) yahoo (dot) com

Thanks so much!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It never gets old! And I hope it never does!

I knew when I started writing seriously with the goal of publication, that I would get all tingly when I actually saw my name and my words in print. But I also wondered if those butterflies would ever stop fluttering.

You know how it is when you're first dating someone. Every kiss, every touch...every look sends those butterflies twittering like crazy. And the longer you're's still awesome and amazing, but the newness has worn off. It's different...the level of connection is deeper and it's just...different. The butterflies just do a few little tumbles instead of flying around like they're on speed.

With my writing, I'm still in that dating phase where every little success is still fresh and exciting.

My newest release is called The Evil Eye and it's featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters Edition!

I received my contributor's copies a few days's not yet available for sale. I signed one and gave it to my dad...since the story in the book is about him. He seemed to really like it..laughed and said it was good but not true. I just looked at him.

"What do you mean it's not true?"

"I don't do that!"

"Oh yes you do! Ask anyone!!"

My dad totally has this "look" that he gives people...he tilts his head down and looks up at you over the top of his glasses. And he'd used it many times on the boys that I brought around as a teen!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Back in writing mode!!!

I don't know about you guys, but I have trouble flip flopping between creating new and editing old. I need to submerge myself in one or the other. And I'm proud to say as of yesterday, I am back in creative mode!! YAY!!

And that means I am back to my 1000 word a day goal!!

This is something I am very serious about. But I do cut myself some slack. I work a month at a time, usually. And as long as I make 30,000 by the end of the month, I am happy. Some days I do not make my goal..other days I do and double it..once I even tripled it! What a day of accomplishment that was!

So needless to say, I keep track of every word I type, every day! I was last in creative mode in July and managed just over 30,000 words!! I thought maybe you guys would be interested in a breakdown of the month!

Here goes:

Number of days my 1000 word goal was met: 18
Number of days it was not: 5
Number of days I didn't write at all: 8 (Didn't realize this number was so high!)
Number of days I wrote at least 1500 words: 9
Number of days I wrote over 2000 words: 4

Total word count: 30,590

So, half of the days I made my goal, I wrote 50% more. And 4 of those times, I more than doubled my goal. I more than made up for the days a shorted and the days I missed.

Not bad!! Let's see how I do in October!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

They're People Too blogfest!!!

Fun fun fun blogfest today!!!!!! Tessa over at Tessa's Blurb has organized this really cool blogfest! So please stop by and show some blog love and check out the other participants!!

So, this blogfest is about personifying a concept...and of course, I chose karma!!! This is a scene from my WIP, Karma Kameleon, the sequel to A Bitch Named Karma. For my main character Lexi, karma is a very real real it's become a person.


Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this sadistic kind of torture?

And then it hit me. That Karma bitch.

My back straightened and I stood up, tears having been replaced with fire. I looked around the bathroom and saw nothing. I continued out into the hall and the living room, the kitchen. Nothing.

“Where are you, you fucking bitch?”

I stomped into my bedroom, then into Preston’s nursery.

“Show your goddamn face!”

This couldn’t be happening—not again. I wasn’t the same person I was before. I’d reformed and grown a conscience. I was a good person. I didn’t deserve any kind of bad karma.

I thought Karma and I were good. I thought we were friends. Why the hell would she do this to me again? And something as awful as this? This didn’t just hurt me, this hurt Rich. He definitely didn’t deserve this kind of pain.

I went back to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, only seeing my bedraggled reflection. I turned and jerked open the shower curtain. “Where the fuck are you hiding?”

As I tore into the linen closet, I heard footsteps behind me and swung around to meet Karma’s icy gaze.

“Lex, what are you doing?” Rich stood there, staring at me and the pile of towels sitting at my feet—the ones I’d yanked from the closet in my search for a paranormal figure that only I could see.

“Um, uh…nothing. Just looking for something.”

He didn’t look convinced. “Can I help?”

“No,” I said and shook my head, the tears and sadness returning. He reached out to me as I broke down and cradled me in his embrace.

“What’s going on?” He spoke in his most calming voice as he smoothed my hair. My apparent mind loss was probably freaking him out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Social networking and our opinions

I think most people frequent at least one from of social networking- Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc..., whether it be for business reasons or purely for pleasure. I visit these places for both reasons. Some weigh more toward one reason than the other, but I do it because I enjoy it. And I like interacting with others.


Everyone has their chance to say whatever is on their mind....whenever they want. Opinions on anything and everything. And we all have our opinions, which are different from what others think. So when we open ourselves up by posting our's expected that others will respond with their opposite opinions, right????

When I post something, I do it with the knowledge that someone may think differently and share their thoughts. I normally don't mind....I don't expect or want everyone to think the same as I do. I don't mind a good debate as long as all parties remain open-minded and things don't get nasty.

When you post, do you expect to get a range of comments back?? Does it bother you if someone disagrees with you?? Since it is your post, if someone doesn't agree, should they just not comment??

There are many times I have a different opinion that what someone has posted and I wonder if I really should comment. I try my hardest to always post my opinions in a concise and respectful way. But as we all know, words on a screen are often misconstrued.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy Hunksday!

Got the idea for today's hunky guy from an adorable chick flick!! DVR'd it the other night and watched it. This guy isn't drool-worthy, per say, but he's just got this-boy-next door sex appeal. And that smile....heart melting!

Loved him in The Notebook, 27 Dresses and of course, Enchanted, too! And he had me laughing hysterically in Death at a Funeral. I'm not all into Xmen and whatever, but I'm sure he was hot in that too!

I present, James Marsden:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 3 of Questions!

One final question!!! Hope you're not too bored yet!!

Question #6 comes from Kristi Faith: "How did you meet your husband?"

We actually met at a family type campground...both of our families camped their seasonally every summer!! Instead of writing the whole thing out, here are some posts I wrote a while back about "our story":

How I Met Your Father: Part 1

How I Met Your Father: Part 2

How I Met Your father: Part 3

How I met Your Father: Part 4

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More answers to your questions!

Here are some more of your questions! If you haven't posted a question yet, please feel free to go to last Friday's post and ask away!

Question #3 comes from Stephanie Faris: "What are your biggest dreams when it comes to your writing career?"

My biggest career dream is to just share my story with readers and have them tell me how much they loved it and identified with my character...they laughed, they had everything they wanted and more! I'd love to be able to make a decent living doing what I love..I won't lie...we can use more money than we currently have!! LOL! And I'd love to walk into a book store and see someone pick up my book, read the blurb, then add it to their pile of purchases...that would just be so awesome!!

Question #4 comes from Bethany Mattingly: "As a kid we all think of what we'll be like as adults. What did you think you'd be like? How close are you?"

When I was a kid, I always imagined myself as a mom with a tidy perfect house. I saw myself making dinner and having it on the table for my husband- a tall blonde man with glasses who wore a suit to work. I honestly don't remember myself having a mom stayed home with us kids for many years...she didn't get a job until we were older and even then, she didn't start til after we went to school and was home when we got home. That was just what I knew back then. And in all honesty, my life is somewhat similar. I did work for many years in my chosen field but knew all along that I wanted to be home for our children. I ran a business out of my home for several years but ended it to devote my career to writing instead. I have the two kids but the husband is a little different...nothing like I ever thought I'd end up with actually!! He works in law enforcement and wears a uniform to work...he has dark hair and perfect vision! LOL! (and never ever in my teen years did I ever think I'd end up with the quarterback of the football team superstar jock!) And as far as the house goes...yeah, I do like to have a tidy home (though housekeeping does come second to writing!!) and I enjoy making all kinds of fun recipes for dinner!

And the last for today, question #5 comes from Elizabeth Monroz: "Do you have a regularly scheduled time or word count that you spend writing? If you get stuck, do you take a break?"

I have two modes, creative mode and editing mode. I have trouble doing both at the same time. But when I am in all out creative mode, I stick to a 1000 word a day goal. I do not make the goal every happens. But there are many days I far surpass it..even double it. So those days make up for my short days and when I evaluate my monthly word count, I am usually right on track. This July I added just over 30,000 words to my MS. And I most definitely take breaks. I have to. When i get stuck. I minimize the document and pop in on Facebook or Twitter, I check my email. Depending on what's there, the break is anywhere from 2-5 minutes, and then usually I am good to go. Sometimes I may pop in at a few of the message board communities I belong to for 5-10 minutes...and I come out feeling refreshed. I'll take several little breaks a day. And I admit, I take more frequent breaks while eyes go buggy staring at the screen, so breaks are necessary!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And now your answers!!!!!

Huge thanks to everyone who posted questions on Friday and through the weekend!! Please feel free to post more questions!!! This is really fun!! Click here to be taken the the post!!

Question #1 is from Teenage Bride! "What inspired you to become a writer?"

I've always loved creating things...scrapbooks, crafts, meals, stories, even choreographed dances. Even as a child I spent most of my time doing those types of things instead of science experiments or sports. I always kept a diary and wrote and illustrated little stories too. As I grew up, ideas would pop into my head from time to time...random things at random times. I would say to myself "That would make a really great book or movie!" Then one day...I actually wrote the idea down and then expanded on it...and thought about where the entire story would go. I remember feeling so unbelievably accomplished after writing eleven pages (single spaced). That's when it sparked for me. I abandoned that story and went on to something else a little nearer and dearer to my heart...and that only fanned the tiny flame. It grew into a full out bonfire and it was official...I loved writing fiction!!

Question #2 comes from Jenn Johansson: "Do you think you've had a "big break" yet in your career? If so, what was it?"

I call it my medium break, though I hope it doesn't come off sounding like I don't appreciate it, because I SOOO do!!! When I originally started dreaming about becoming an author, I of course saw my book in my hands, on bookstore shelves, on best seller lists...I saw myself at readings and books signings with a mile long line of fans! (and possibly a movie deal too! LOL!) Bottom line, I saw my story being adored by lots of people. So when I started my quest for this dream, I took the traditional route. I queried agents. And I queried some more. I revamped and queried again. And I let my story sit and wrote another one. I went back and reworked it again after a significant amount of time had passed. And I queried yet again. But I still was sitting at the starting line. And then I happened across some small independent digital publishers. I submitted, even though I knew very little about digital publishing. And then, just like that...I had a publishing contract in my inbox. I adore my publishers, Lyrical Press...they are an amazing group of people!! They were very small when they started out and are growing every week it seems! I know they have the potential to become very very big!!!! I hope to grow with them. But I do still crave seeing my book in a bookstore. Nothing will ever take that desire away. So for as much as I am thankful for this amazing chance I've been given, I will still try to grab the attention of an agent. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Be nosey! It's okay!

I've done a few interviews and I absolutely love them!!!! It's so fun to answer questions and share my life with readers and bloggers. There were lots of questions about my writer lifestyle and about my books and other projects and even some fun questions too! I like to describe myself as an "open book", pun intended! I don't know if there's any question I would shy away from!

So what I want to do for next week is answer the questions you want answers to!! I've seen this done on other blogs numerous time and I always think it's a ton of fun!!!! Bloggers always come up with great questions!!

So give me your best questions!!! Post them in the comments and depending on how many I get, I'll post the answers all in one day or break them up into 2 or 3 days worth of posts!

Thanks! Can't wait to see what you guys come up with!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Hunksday!

This week's hottie I discovered a few years ago while watching an Amanda Byne's movie titled "She's the Man". LOVE that movie!!! If you haven't seen it, basically Amanda's character wants to play soccer on the boys team but they won't let her so she transfers out of school and takes her brother's spot on a different school's team....and pretends to be a boy. She then shacks up with our featured hunk, her assigned roomie in the dorm, and of course, falls madly in love with him.

He's been in several other movies since then and I was reminded of his hotness once again the other night while flipping channels and catching "Step Up".

May I present, Channing Tatum:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I SOOOO hate feeling useless!!!

This has been me for the last two weeks. But worse.

I started writing a whole long story about my medical history and how exactly I came to my current status, but I figured no one really wanted to read all that. So long story short, I've had low back issues for years and had it under control with monthly maintenance with my chiropractor. Things were good, unless I did something stupid or had some kind of accident, like now.

And this one has been the worst ever. I have never ever been in this much pain...and I've given birth to two babies. It's been completely debilitating. Constant pain, zero relief. I even had to have my husband help me get my underwear on.

The pain was not this bad the whole of the last two just got bad a few days ago. But I've been taking it super easy the last two weeks, which means the laundry hasn't been done, and the house kinda resembles a pig sty. I did what I could, but when I took a turn for the worst, I couldn't do anything at all. Luckily hubby can take time off from work, paid, because of the Family Medical Leave Act. So he's been here to take care of the kids and do some housework and such. While I lay here completely useless.

I can't tell you how absolutely awful it feels to lay here and not be able to help with anything. I'm not one to ask for anything, ever. If I want something, I get up and get it. But the last two days, I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom without asking hubby to help me get off the couch. I know he doesn't mind and I actually think he's taking some pride in all this...helping me. He hasn't complained once.

I am better now though. Went to my primary physician because I just didn't think my chiropractor was helping me in this situation. My doctor gave me a prescription for some steroids, and I can honestly say, with only one dose, I am already feeling a lot better. When I woke up this morning, I was actually laying there feeling zero pain. Haven't felt pain-free in days. I'm not one to right away run for pain meds and I'm glad she didn't actually give me any pain pills. She did give me a muscle relaxer to use at night, but it didn't actually do anything for me.

So, I'm happy to report I am on my way to feeling useful again! Have you ever been in a situation where you felt useless???

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just because it's cyberspace, doesn't mean you can be nasty

Ug. Nothing makes me more angry than people getting nasty in cyberspace. Can't we all just get along???

I am a member of many online groups and communities, some writing related and for the purpose of networking, some just for fun. Today I was on one of my just for fun communities and answered a post. I got a private message that was kinda nasty. So of course I go back and reread my it was pretty nice...wasn't being nasty...don't think it could have been taken as anything nasty...just a straight up informative comment...sharing what I found on another website. No reason what so ever for this person to reply to me nastily.

So I replied back...taking the high road and kept my reply simple. No point in fueling a fire with some cyber stranger.

Do you often experience this online?? What do you do?

Monday, September 20, 2010

I am so desperate for new shows!!!!

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ready for the new season of shows to start tonight!!!!!! I love to laugh and I love to be entertained. The writing on my favorite shows is spectacular and I just cannot wait to see brand spanking new episodes!!!

Anyone else ready for new shows?? What are your favs??

And what about new series??? I am looking forward to Outsourced!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Deals and Bargains Galore!!!!

I admit it...I am a shopaholic. But at least I have the good sense to only buy things when they are on sale with an awesome coupon! And 90% of the time, I limit myself to things I absolutely need.

So in the mail a few days ago I got a mystery coupon from Kohl's. Had to peel it open to see my discount: 15, 20 or 30% off your entire purchase. Lucky was 30%!!

I went today and got some really great deals. Everything I bought was already on sale. And Kohl's lets you use coupons on everything in the store! Hubby needed a new dress shirt and tie, so he picked those out. My son needed pants for fall/winter. He outgrew all of his from last year. So I grabbed him two pairs of jeans, a pair of khakis and some loungy type pants. And also a couple hooded sweatshirts. I browsed the shoe department and got my son a pair of shoes, so he has something other than sneakers to wear. And I found a fab pair of black boots for me :) I needed a new pair of slippers and a new purse and also some sports bras. I browsed the jewelry department and I am such a sucker for cute necklaces and earring sets. And they were on sale for $10 plus the extra 30% off!!!!! But I told myself "no"....I really didn't need them. And then when I was all cashed out, I received $40 in Kohl's cash to use during the last week of September, I think. If you're not familiar with Kohl's cash...basically, it's like a $40 gift minimum purchase...use it on anything I want in the store!! :)

But my shopping addiction isn't even limited to clothes and shoes...I even love food shopping. I'm sure I'm in the minority on that one! I just love buying things an coming home and filling my pantry! It looks so nice when it's fully stocked!! And I love having lots of different foods to eat! Hate when it's toward the end of the week and there's nothing left that's any good!

**Edited to add...had to go back the next day cause I got the wrong color tie for hubby. And he saw their suits were on sale....for $100, jacket and pants. Plus the 30% off (cause I got to keep my coupon and reuse it!! How awesome is that???) Hubby has needed a new suit for years!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Hunksday!

Before you go check out today's delicious piece of man MUST read my latest review for A Bitch Named Karma!!!! Click here!!

Without further ado, today I present my most favorite Desperate Housewives Husband...Mike Delfino. Never has a plumber been sexier. He's a little older than most of my Hunksday hotties...but that's okay! Can;t wait for the new season to start!!

Enjoy...James Denton!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My first book review! Cinders!

This is my first book review ever!! YAY!!!

A few months back, fellow blogger Michelle Davidson Argyle had asked for reviewers for her soon to be published novella, Cinders. I jumped at the chance. After having been a follower of Michelle's Blog/Website and The Literary Lab for some time now, I knew Michelle was fantastic!! So I jumped on this opportunity.

I've never read a fantasy type story before, but this one intrigued me right from the start. I am such a huge lover of fairy tales, and I was very interested to know what happens after the fairy tale ends...if the "happily-ever-after" really happens. For had all been such a whirlwind and once the dust settled...she wasn't exactly sure she liked what she had been given.

In Cinderella's new word, everything is blanketed in magic. How can she know if her prince really loves her? And can she live the rest of her life never knowing the answer?

In Cinders, Cinderella decides that she can't live her life that way. And if that isn't bad enough, her fairy Godmother has been imprisoned for black magic. Cinderella secretly visits her and with her help, she now has a spell to break the other spell.

Michelle is such a great writer...she knows how to pull a reader in and creates such a vivid world for them. And I think for this genre, it's even more important. In all honesty, I am not real up on my history of that time period and I don't read much historical fiction, but that didn't matter. Michelle's descriptions gave me no trouble in imagining the world she'd created.

I don't want to give the story away, so I won't say much more, but you should definitely check out Cinders and Michelle Davidson Argyle!

Check out the book trailer:

Click here to view a list of options for purchase!

And another thing that makes Michelle and Cinders so interesting, she self published the book, promoted it...even photographed the cover, all on her own. The model is a friend of hers who created the gown herself!